As massage therapy has grown in demand, the number of massage therapy schools and colleges offering massage therapy programs has increased to meet that demand; not all massage therapy schools
are created equally, though, and so students entering the field of massage therapy need to take care to choose a quality program inclusive of all certification and regulatory requirements for the areas they hope to work in.
First Things First—Research The Field
Before delving very far into the search for good massage therapy schools, students should first take some time to learn about the field of massage therapy, the opportunities within the field, and the demands of the job.
It is essential to consider what type of massage therapy and/or position is preferable before choosing a school because some schools focus on certain modalities or applications of massage therapy; for instance, some massage therapy schools are geared more toward sports massage, while others might be more suited to serving certain populations such as geriatrics or pediatrics, and still others might focus more on massage as a physical therapy or medical treatment. Choosing a school with a specialization is greatly beneficial for students with strong intentions of operating within that specialty, but choosing a school with too narrow a focus can limit employment options down the road for a student who is less sure of his or her employment goals.
Research Local Regulatory Requirements
Massage therapy is treated differently by various locales and states; unfortunately, there is no one national regulation governing licensure or massage therapy schools. Regulations in one state may be quite lax, while others may be very strict. It is imperative that a student get adequate training to meet requirements for licensure in the area where he or she intends to practice. Choosing a local program usually means that local requirements will be met, but a more rigorous curriculum will insure flexibility across regions.
Some Final Tips
The factors mentioned above are the more important matters to consider when choosing massage therapy schools; to help narrow the choices once the bases have been covered, the following tips are useful.
• Collect and compare information on several massage therapy schools
• Talk to students and look over the curriculum to determine if the program seems a good match
• Learn about the school’s philosophy—is it a match?
• Determine program accreditation and/or the necessity of it
• Review class-times and options to see if it is feasible to fulfill program time and schedule obligations
• Consider proximity to work and home
• Research staff credentials
• Find out what post-graduation services are offered, such as job placement, continuing education, etc.
• See what financing and student aid options are offered
• Compare program costs—remember to consider all fees and book costs in addition to base tuition